We've entered the season when the blogging productivity of academic bloggers predictably and necessarily drops off. Grading, holidays, life craziness, the usual for the season. In the meantime, here's a few interesting things recently published that you may find interesting:
- Martha Bayles, "The Ugly Americans: How Not to Lose the Global Culture War," AEI. A good example of a paradox I've long puzzled over - advocates of American cultural diplomacy who don't actually seem to much care for American culture. A conservative narrative of decline is the key: American culture used to be fine, but now it's degraded because of the cultural elites and so no wonder the world hates us. How rap music - mentioned repeatedly throughout the piece as an example of our degraded culture - is a product of cultural elites is unclear.
- Ibrahim al-Marashi, "The Dynamics of Iraq's Media: Ethno-Sectarian Violence, Political Islam, Public Advocacy, and Globalization." Looks out how the privatization and pluralization of the Iraqi media has produced an ethno-sectarian local media, with all kinds of damaging effects.
- New issue of the journal Middle East Policy. Only a few of the articles offer full text (including a survey of the GCC by Chas Freeman); if you can get hold of the full text, I would recommend Thomas Hegghammer's study of recruitment by al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, which carefully reviews the biographies of its members and reaches some interesting conclusions.
- New issue of Carnegie's Arab Reform Bulletin. I'd say the highlight of this issue is Nathan Brown's Kuwait: The Beginning of Real Politics?
- Frederick Kagan, 'A Plan for Success in Iraq.' Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard says that this
paperpower point presentation will be the blueprint for Bush's new strategy. The plan will not succeed, of course, but at least you can read about the impending disaster first. Only question: is the whole bit about this becoming Bush's strategy just wishful thinking on Barnes's part?
I'll blog when I can over the next few weeks, but won't promise anything.